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Showing posts from March, 2020

Fighting the Coronavirus Pandemic (II)

By Syed Shamsuddin

First besetting Wuhan City of Hubei province in China, CoVID-19 has, with time, swept across all the continents of the world save for Antarctica.  It is said to be a zoonotic disease, which means it spreads from animals to human beings. However, more credence is said to be lent by scientists/epidemiologists to the view that its outbreak was more likely from wild animals like bats, and Pangolin. Be it as it may, the disease has by the time horrifically assumed pandemic proportions for having affected South Asia then descending on Iran. In its aftermath, a large number of people contracting the pandemic, traveled from and entered into Pakistan from these countries which became the fundamental cause of and instrumental in its outbreak in Pakistan. It is noteworthy that China battled against the disease so valiantly and successfully that they have, by the time, not only been able to stem the tide of the pandemic there but are very well poised to offer humanitarian assis…

Fighting The Coronavirus Pandemic – I

By Syed Shamsuddin

Sadly, Dr. Usama Riaz, who contracted CoVID19 virus while screening passengers for the same disease at Juglote, 35km away from Gilgit city, has passed away, after remaining on ventilator for a few days. This is, indeed, an irreparable loss that has left us all grieving and shocked. The heroic deeds of the brave medic in the line of duty will go down in the region’s history. Undoubtedly, this brave son of the soil who laid down his life so valiantly for the noble cause of humanity is to always to be remembered and paid glowing tributes. Dr. Usama’s death reminds us of the extent of deadliness of the pandemic which is overtaking almost every part of the world and wreaking havoc all across the planet.  What nonetheless becomes imperative at this juncture is that all the doctors and medical staff assigned the duty are invariably issued protective kits to enable them to perform in a safe and unhindered manner. While the region is mourning the death of the brave medic and…

Resuscitating Endangered Languages – Part V

Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part V Famous Wakhi poets include Asmatullah Mushfiq, Nazir Ahmad Bulbul, Saifuddin Saif, Safar Muhammad Afghan, Fzal Amin Baig, Ahmad Riaz, Ghulam Mustafa, Hassan Ali Sagar, Shahid Ali Yakhsooz, Amanullah Nachiz, Saadat Shah Saadat, from Tajikistan Bakht Ali, from China Zangir Baig, while from Russia Sangeen Murad top the list. In 1993, Radio Pakistan Gilgit started Wakhi transmissions. Famous researcher Backstrom says that Wakhi speakers encourage expression and promotion of their language and like their children get education in Wakhi too. On the other side of the border in Wakhan, Tajikistan and Russia, a great work on Wakhi has been done. Those doing doctorate in Wakhi language include Dr Bakhshu Baykov, Dr Aziz Mir and Dr Eid Muhammad. Famed linguist Fazal Amin Baig says that the researchers have employed Latino-Greek script during research of Wakhi language but Professor Dr Boghsho, after years of research, has reached the conclusion t…

Resuscitating Endangered Languages – Part IV

Very recently, famous author, Zafarullah Parwan has written a fiction titled Angar Sitano, thereby playing an important role in promotion of Khowar fiction. In the district of Ghizar, prominent poets and authors of Khowar are: Syed Murad Ali Shah Aajiz, Javed Hayat Kakakhel, Sarfaraz Shah and Shamsul Haw Nawarz. Javed Hayat Kakakhel’s composition “Gurzain” was published in 2018. In addition to Chitral and Ghizar, Khowar is also spoken as a mother tongue communities Swat, Xinjiang, Lower Pamir and Pron, Afghanistan. Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) Assembly passed a Bill regarding inclusion of Khowar along with other languages of the province in the syllabus from first class to secondary level. Work on the syllabus was undertaken till 2013, but it was stopped the same year with the coming of the PTI government. Inyatullah Faizi explains further that the interim caretaker government resumed work on the syllabus in 2018 and currently, 1st and 2nd class books are under review and printing stage…

Resuscitating Endangered Languages – Part III

According to A.F.C. Reed, a Western research, Christian missionaries translated Bible into Balti with the help of Persian script between 1915 to 1938. Later on, famous researcher of Balti, Khalilur Rehman prepared Balti primer and grammar using Arabi/Persian alphabets. After him, his successor Muhammad Yousuf made changes in Balti primer while in the succeeding years, local people made significant contributions in Balti literature and poetry. About 60 years later in 1960s, famous researcher of Balti Yousus Hussainabadi rediscovered the original Balti alphabets “Agay” and introduced a Balti Qaeda, primer, comprising 30 alphabets in ‘Agay’. Hussainabadi says, ‘Agay script prevailed in Tibet, Ladakh, Sikkim, Bhutan and Baltistan through which Balti literature witnessed unbounded promotion. But nonetheless, with the introduction of Persian  script in Balti, literary treasure in this way of expression is accumulating since then. According to him, presently the number of people using ‘Agay…

Resuscitating Endangered Language – Part II

By Syed Shamsuddin Gilgit-Baltistan, multi-cultural and multi-lingual in its demographic character, remains home to six languages, each of which is quite distinct and different from the other. The languages of Gilgit-Baltistan include Shina, Balti, Khowar, Brushaski, Wakhi, Gujjari and Domaki. Kashmiri, Kohistani Shina, Khowar, Kilasha or Kalasha and Phalway are some of the languages spoken in GB’s neighboring regions.  Some of these languages are classified as Dardic, while . According to researchers, Chitrali languages (Khowar, Kalasha, Yadgha, Phalola), Kohistani languages (Kalami, Torwali, Kalkoti), Indus Kohistani languages (Batairi, Chiliso) and Shina languages/dialects (Aoshoojo, Domaki, Phalola and Salvi) are classified as Dardic languages. Brushaski, Wakhi, and Balti, on the other hand, are categorized as non-Dardic languages. Some of these languages have grammar and alphabets. Others are still without alphabets and grammars. Nevertheless, all of these languages are endangere…